As developing countries struggle to access vaccines, the US announced support to eliminate trade barriers on vaccine access. In a statement Wednesday, the Biden Administration called for a waiver on COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property patents at the World Trade Organization.
“Less than 2% of vaccines reached poor countries,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. "Intellectual property rights prevent developing countries from making their own vaccines or accessing generic versions."
The IMF states that uneven vaccine access is a main cause of global economic uncertainty.
"When the majority of countries are not accessing vaccines, the virus continues to mutate and could reinfect vaccinated people in wealthy countries," noted LeCompte. "Continuing coronavirus waves, in any part of the world, mean economic shocks from exports and imports for every country."
President Biden pledged $4 billion to a global fund to help poor countries acquire safe and effective vaccines.